susansflowers

garden ponderings


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Going, going, almost gone

There was an entire bed of artichoke flowers.
Of course, not all at once, so I was able to enjoy them for awhile.
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The outer leaves are prickly, but the inner purple part is so-o soft.
I cut and dried many of these blossoms.  The stems are quite sturdy,
thus they can dry upright.
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Last of the lilies.
These are some of my favorite summer flowers, so showy.
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I have dead-headed most of my hyssop plants, but this moth found one of the last flowers.  When the plant is in full bloom, the insects love it.
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Mexican oregano, outside my front door is part of the kitchen herb garden.
These white flowers are also, very popular with bees and moths.

The small leaves of Greek oregano are more pungent than the larger leafed Mexican variety.  I dried this type for use this winter.  Not many of the pink flowers remain.
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Flowers in the Vegetable Garden

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Strawberry plants are looking great.  I pick a couple of pints every morning.  My favorite ways to eat these summer gems is on a bowl of granola for breakfast, and on a dinner salad.  M-m-m, tasty!
Any extras get frozen on a cookie sheet and put away to be enjoyed in winter.
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Copy of DSCN3527 Copy of DSCN3535Summer squash is just getting going, I like mine small, young & tender.
A friend was surprised with a few zucchini at her front door the other morning.
The zuke elves are starting their rounds, watch out!
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Copy of DSCN3528 Copy of DSCN3536I’ve picked only a very few cherry-size tomatoes, and not one green bean – yet.
The best is yet to come in these departments.
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Copy of DSCN3530 Copy of DSCN3548Baby, red leaf, butter lettuce gone to seed is not necessarily glamorous.
The dandelion-looking fuzz balls are their flowers gone-to-seed.
Close-up the flowers are kind of cute.
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Copy of DSCN3538I try to keep flowers pinched from all my basil plants, as it is the leaves that are used.  Thai basil has the prettiest purple flower buds, and a few blossoms opened before they were pruned.
These leaves get dried to add flavor to curry dinners all winter long.
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Copy of DSCN3531Amaranth is new to me, and I’m not sure how much larger the flower will grow.  There are around a dozen plants, each about a yard (a meter) tall.
I keep checking this one, there is much for me to learn here.
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Copy of DSCN3526 DSCN3549Melons are such a gamble to harvest here.  Will the heat continue through August and September?  Since it is still July, it looks like this could be a good year.  Cantaloupe or rockmelon are the size of a large orange, so far.  Smooth-skin melons usually take longer to mature, but this one is on its way, also.
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And last, but hardly least, are a couple of my own garden nemeses:
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Someone was just here extolling the beauty of Queen Anne’s lace in the fields, and I objected.  The flowers are not evil themselves, but when they go to seed, the trouble starts.  It is a test of my patience to pick the burrs out of kids and my own socks.
The yellow flowers are not dandelions, but I would not be surprised to learn they are close cousins, as the flowers turn to fuzz-balls when they go to seed.


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Weed or Not?

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Doesn’t it really depend on your definition of what is a weed?
This garden invader (see, a negative comment by me already), is at least 4 feet tall (over a meter).  I have been letting it stay so I could see what the flower looks like.  Perhaps I will like the blossoms, and it could be a new addition to this deer-proof bed.

So far, neither bees or wasps have been attracted to this specimen.  Although, when I was photographing this morning, the bees were all over nearby plants, and I did not dawdle.
The other photo-taking challenge was getting the entire plant in one picture.  It is in the middle of a bed, and the neighboring greenery partially disguises what I am attempting to point out.


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Villandry Garden & Chateau – Part 1

Toto, we are not in Oregon! *
We are in France, at Villandry, one of the more famous Chateau gardens on the Loire River.

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Upon entering the gardens, this is my first view.  Amazing!  So manicured, perfectly designed and executed.
We spent a couple of hours in beautiful sunshine, walking around, taking photos, admiring, learning and trying not to be overwhelmed.

DSCN2358This is one of two Sun Gardens.  The flowers here are all yellow or orange, either now or to come later in summer.  Empty spaces are for the nearby flowers to fill-in as the season continues.  Flowers in the next-door Sun Garden are all of pink, blue or white.  I recognized a number of the plants here and was admiring the way they were arranged.

* For those too young to know the original movie of Wizard of Oz:  upon finding herself in the land of Oz, Judy Garland as Dorothy, says to her small dog, “Toto, we are not in Kansas.”


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The Edible Garden

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Temperatures dipped below freezing last night, which makes me just as glad I have not started my vegetable garden.  Even though we have had many sunny days, spring weather is quite unpredictable.

Bok Choy flowers are very pretty, and the renewal of a crop I began a couple of years ago.  This is a sturdy plant, and all winter it has been nice to walk down to the garden and pick a few bunches for dinner whenever I want.

Strawberry flowers are beautiful for themselves, and for what they portend.  A month ago, I planted a new strawberry bed knowing it can take a year to come into full production.  It is very hard to remove the first flush of flowers that are starting already.  Pictured are flowers with developing berries on plants from the old bed.  More warm days will mean sooner fresh strawberries.  Yum-yum.
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We love our homegrown pears in the autumn.  D’Anjou is one of our favorites, and these flowers are on one of those trees.  We eat most of the pears fresh, I preserve some in jars, and make jam.  Last year I also sliced and dried a batch of pears that were so-o sweet.

Blueberry flowers look like little bells hanging from the branches.  The bushes are loaded with flowers right now.  There was a black and yellow bumble bee at these flowers while I was taking pictures, but I just couldn’t get him to hold still long enough to get his photo.


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Mole Holes

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We have a number of rows of dirt mounds that look similar to these pictured here.  We have seen so many rows of dirt mounds through the years.  I’ve always wondered if they were made by gophers, moles, digger squirrels or whatever?  An internet search (what an idea 🙂 after living here over 30 years) confirmed these are definitely mole holes.  The moles have been very good at staying in their territory and not going into the vegetable garden – yet.  I keep watching out for those pests in my territory.  We feel that they have over 50 acres to roam around and eat earthworms.  All we want is an acre or two that we humans have tamed and reside in.


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Autumn Gladiolus – Maybe

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I’m sure I found the starts for this flower early this spring.  They tempted me with their beautiful photos.  After planting the bulbs, I forgot about them all summer long, and never noticed the gladiolus-type leaves growing.  I definitely like this sort of surprises in the garden.  Wouldn’t it be nice if they came back next year?  We’ll just have to wait and see.  If they really like where they are planted they may multiply.  That is Lemon Queen Helianthus peeking in on the right.  Hollyhock leaves are on the left.